Choosing the Right Deck Stain Color

5 Tips for Choosing the Right Deck Stain

Choosing the Right Deck StainClear, translucent, semi-transparent, solid? With so many choices in opacity and color, it can be overwhelming choosing the right deck stain! Regular maintenance is key for improving the life of your wood deck, and it helps to have a reference guide when choosing stain for your deck care project. GNH Lumber recommends Arborcoat Exterior Stains by Benjamin Moore for durability and style.

Get your staining project started!

Spring is the perfect season for your deck staining project! It’s still low humidity, and the sun shines longer each day. Choose a stretch of days without rain in the forecast and get it done!

Staining your deck is one of the easiest ways to transform the look of your home’s exterior, and a great way to protect and beautify your gathering space for years to come. But the options may seem endless. There are endless color and opacity combinations. Plus, there are better options available for each wood type.

Here are 5 simple tips for choosing the right deck stain for your wood deck:

Choosing the Right Deck Stain

1) Opacity: The Key to Wood Grain Appearance

According to, when it comes to the impact stain will have on your deck’s design, understanding opacity is key.

Opacity is the degree to which you can see the natural grain of wood, achieved by using one of the following:

  • Clear stain has no color added and shows the natural beauty of the wood.
  • Translucent stain doesn’t obscure grain and texture of wood and includes just the slightest tone.
  • Semi Transparent stain allows most of the grain and texture to show through, with slightly more prominent color.
  • Semi Solid stain, with its deeper shades, covers most imperfections while allowing some of the grain and texture of the wood to show through.
  • Solid stain offers the greatest color depth of all, covering the majority of imperfections while allowing the texture of the wood to peek through lightly.


2) Considering Color: Choices Abound

Choosing the Right Deck Stain ColorWhen thinking about color for your deck, consider the same shade as your home’s trim. This technique will make it stand out against the main field of your house for a unified look that still highlights your deck’s architecture.

For a more monochromatic look, use a similar shade as your house’s primary color, a good choice if you want features like your fire pit or dining area as your deck’s focal point.

There’s a huge spectrum of color to explore in Arborcoat Exterior Stains, from driftwood grays to warm russets to woodland greens.


3) Wood Type Matters

Wood remains the most common choice for decks. More expensive hardwoods such as mahogany or ipe offer gorgeous grain and texture that shine through when using a more transparent stain like Arborcoat Transluscent or Semi Transparent. Softer, less expensive woods, including pressure treated southern yellow pine or cedar, benefit from Semi Solid and Solid stains’ innate weather barrier.

Choosing the Right Deck Stain for Your Wood Type

Wood alternatives known as “composite decking” are also a popular choice. While often sold as maintenance-free, composite decks demand protection from color fading as well as from the elements–just like their wood counterparts; Arborcoat Solid Deck & Siding Stain provides excellent color retention for these popular decking choices.

4) Narrow the Scope

Not ready to go big? Repainting or staining wood outdoor chairs and tables is less of an intensive project than redoing your entire deck. Almost any bright color pops off neutrals and wood tones in an eye-catching way and revitalizes decking with ease.

Another option is to stain your deck’s handrails and bannisters only. Pull from your interior color palette to visually–yet subtly–unite indoors and out. Or consider using a combination of stains to designate where one section of your deck begins and another section ends.

5) Audition Your Stains

Choosing the Right Deck Stain - Test StainsIt’s easy to “try on” stains on the actual wood you want to coat: In fact, there’s no better way to see true color accuracy.

Ready to turn inspiration into reality? We’re here to take you every step of the way, from prep to finish. Watch our how-to video to see how we do it, then download the PDF for the step-by-step method.

Pint-sized samples are available in all ARBORCOAT opacities as well as Solid Stains, which are available in all 3,500+ Benjamin Moore colors.


Now you’re ready to pick just the right stain for your springtime deck staining project! Remember, if you need tips or guidance at any step along the way, contact the experts at GNH Lumber.



4 Ways to Create the Perfect Deck Retreat

Want to create a peaceful deck retreat? It’s fun and easy to transform your deck into a lounge that your family and friends will enjoy all season long! If you’re thinking of building a brand new deck, or rethinking your existing deck, GNH Lumber is ready to help you make your dream deck a reality!

TimberTech® composite decking is an excellent choice for low-maintenance durability and style.  That’s because TimberTech® decks are durable enough for your family to enjoy for years, without the hassles of annual staining and sealing. They give their traditional capped wood composite decking the strength it needs to battle almost anything Mother Nature—or your family—throws its way. But they don’t sacrifice beauty for backbone.

Get your deck or porch project started!

Want to create a deck that will help you relax and regenerate? Well, get ready to light up the grill, kick back, and enjoy…

Here are 4 easy ways to create the perfect deck retreat:

1. Create a Corner Nook

If your deck has a corner, try assembling benches with throw pillows inside the cozy nook, or add comfy lounge chairs or even bean bags.

No corners available? No problem! You can also screen off larger portions of deck with room-dividers or trellises covered with fabric to create custom corner nooks. The bonus of creating these custom nooks is that you can choose fabrics, plants or flowers that accentuate your deck color scheme.

Deck Retreat


2. Wrap Around Views

Decks that wrap around the second story of a home give tremendous access to views, and they create a feeling of spaciousness and peace.

Decks like these can double as balconies for morning coffee. Plus, they provide as much aesthetic value from inside the home as they do from the outside.

Quick Tip: If your property has a great view of the mountains or your gardens, why not feature the view from a top story when planning the layout of your deck?


3. Keep the Sun at Bay

Shade for Deck Retreat

Adding a roof, pergola or awning to your deck, is another great way to create a cozy retreat. These kinds of structures or additions allow for lounging during parts of the day when sunlight is at its strongest. Creating cool, shady places to sit and sip a beverage or rock in a hammock is a great way to maximize deck usage. You can also use the covered patio below a second-story deck to introduce swinging hammocks and shaded benches.

Quick Tip: A roof provides the densest shade, while a pergola allows partial sun and a more open feel. Awnings provide partial shade, with the added benefit of being retractable or removable. They also come in materials that screen out the most harmful sunrays.


4. Use Soft Built-In Lighting

Dark evening deck? You can create a serene mood and add lighting at the same time! Try placing votive candles and string lights along the rail of your deck. Or, better yet, add LED lights to the decking itself!

Built-In Light for Deck RetreatsYou can enjoy your TimberTech® Deck long after deck after dark with the subtle glow of low-voltage, energy-efficient LED lights in five functional styles. Each style creates a different dreamy effect on evening decks:

  • Accent Lights: Adding a delicate downlight effect on posts or near stairs with accent lights creates ambience and improves visibility.
  • In-Deck Lights: Mount in-deck lights to your deck’s surface for an ambient glow. Place them around your deck’s perimeter for outer glow and added safety.
  • Post Cap Lights: lluminate the edge of your deck with the soft glow of post cap lights. Add them easily to any TimberTech® RadianceRail® or RadianceRail Express® 4″ and 5″ posts.
  • Riser Lights: Add safety and a soft glow to your stairs with riser lights, warming the path up to your outdoor living space.
  • Under-Rail Lights: Enjoy the subtle downlight of under-rail lights, hidden between balusters in the underside of your TimberTech® top rail.

Soft Lighting for Deck Retreat

Have fun creating a peaceful deck retreat that’s all your own! And don’t forget – if you’re thinking of building a brand new deck, or rethinking your existing deck, GNH Lumber will help you make your dream deck a reality! Contact the experts at GNH to learn more.



Get your deck or porch project started!

Repair, and Protect Gutters

DIY: How to Clean, Repair, and Protect Gutters

Repair, and Protect Gutters

Making sure that your home’s gutters are clear of debris after the autumn leaves have fallen is an easy way to prevent potentially significant water and ice damage later. Since your homes gutters work to control the flow of water, and help to prevent damage to the exterior of your home, it’s vital that you keep them in proper working order.

Here are six steps to getting those gutters in tip top shape:

Cleaning Gutters

Step 1: Clean Out the Gutters

Begin by removing the debris and leaves that collect in your gutters. Most find that handheld blowers or even wet/dry vacuums are effective tools for removing debris. If the debris is dry, you’ll find it easier to remove. Blow out as much loose debris as possible and collect it into yard bags.

If you find that the plant matter is really packed in, use a gutter scoop to remove the compacted debris. Simply attach a bucket to your ladder and then scoop out the debris and place it in the bucket. Begin at the downspouts and work your way over. Do not push debris over, rather scoop it out.

You will also need to check out the downspout. Clogs often occur here. Generally, a garden hose on full blast will manage to dislodge the clog quickly.


Step 2: Fully Inspect Gutters

Always take the time to inspect your gutters. This will let you know if they’re in need of repair, and help you assess the scope of work ahead of you. If your gutters show any signs of corrosion, make sure you look for holes or leaking joints and check for loose, missing or even bent gutter hangers. A great tip is to use masking tape to mark where a problem area so you can go back to it quickly when you get the supplies needed to make repairs.


Repair GuttersStep 3: Repair Small Holes and Cracks

You’ll want to repair small holes or cracks in your gutters and downspouts with a gutter patching kit from your local GNH Lumber store.

It’s always easier to fix small issues early on as opposed to making costly repairs later (such as replacing your gutters altogether). Gutter patching kits are easy to use, and can help prolong the life your gutters and prevent damage to your home.


Step 4: Replace Sections with Large Leaks and Tears

Sometimes parts of your home’s roof gutter may be damaged to the point of no return. This can happen if they are not properly installed, or if they have been damage over time because of weather and wear. These sections are best replaced to keep the gutter functioning properly.


Step 5: Adjust Pitch of Gutters

More than likely when your gutters were installed, they had a pitch of about 1/16.” You’ll want to measure the pitch and make adjustments if necessary. This is very important because improper pitch can equal poor or no drainage.

Any high or low spots can often be corrected by slightly bending the hangers that support the gutter itself. You may need to add additional gutter hangers to raise or lower the slope of the gutter at any given point also.


Install Gutter GuardsStep 6: Install Gutter Screens or Guards

Once your gutters have been cleaned and fully repaired, you’ll want to keep them that way! One way to prevent gutters from filling with leaves and other debris is to install metal gutter screen or an aluminum gutter guard. Gutter guards simply extend across the entire width of the gutter blocking debris but still allowing water to enter. It helps to prevent clogs and makes cleaning out your gutters much easier.


By following this step-by-step guide for cleaning, repairing and protecting your home’s roof gutters, you can rest assured that they will work without clogging during the worst of rainstorms, protecting your home from the elements, and prolonging the life of your siding and foundation.

Home Exterior Maintenance Project


Questions or concerns about your home exterior maintenance projects? Stop in to your local GNH Lumber! We’re always glad to offer guidance, tips or suggestions, or point you in the right direction for just the product needed to get the DIY project done.

How to Build a Firewood Rack DIY

DIY: How to Build a Firewood Rack

How to Build a Firewood Rack DIY

If you have a wood burning fireplace or stove, that means you’ve got a wood pile. And if you’re lacking a firewood rack, chances are that a heap of unorganized wood is sitting by your back door creating an eyesore.

Even if your firewood is stacked neatly outside the door, you still need to make sure it doesn’t lean up against your house and trap moisture or you will create the ideal conditions for rotting wood and vermin.

The perfect solution? A new firewood rack that will help you stack your wood and create an attractive feature for your deck, porch or backyard. A well-made wood rack helps you store firewood nearby and keeps your porch or front step clean, and dry.

So, let’s “fire” up the DIY and get to work! Check out these easy DIY outdoor firewood racks:


Stylish Storage

Looking for a stylish way to store wood? Using a pallet as a base, you can create a “tent” with a couple of two by fours and some planks of wood to use as shingles.

This idea comes from Single Track World. They also have some amazing ideas for building a DIY wood storage area or shed. Plus, they are beginner-level woodworker friendly.


Simple Firewood Rack

If you want to build a simple yet functional firewood rack, then this is the rack for you! This is a simple but gorgeous DIY that anyone can do in less than an hour. For less than $100 dollars, you can have a firewood rack in any size you want. Stop by GNH Lumber to pick up these supplies first:

simple firewood rackTOOLS

  • Saw
  • Screw gun
  • 1/4″ hex head socket
  • Tape measure
  • Clamps
  • Framing square


  • (3) 2×4 8 ft. lumber (length can vary as needed)
  • (4) metal connectors
  • (1 box) connector screws

Check out DIY Done Right to download the plans and get started!


Rolling Firewood Cart

Rolling Firewood rack

If you want a firewood rack that’s easy to move, you’ll need a cart with wheels. This fun DIY is not only easy to make, it’s mobile! Having a cart that’s mobile is convenient if you entertain regularly on your patio or deck.

This DIY can easily be made in a weekend. If you like the look of wood grain, you can seal the wood in its natural state. But if you want to add color to match your home’s siding or trim, you can also add a coat of paint.  Here’s what you’ll need at GNH to get started:


  • 2″ x 4″ x 10′ Lumber, cut to size
  • 2″ x 3″ x 8′ Boards, cut to size
  • Fence Picket Boards
  • Miter Saw
  • Screw Driver/ Drill
  • Countersink
  • 3″ Torx Deck Screws
  • Clamps
  • 4 Casters
  • Sanding Block
  • Porter Cable Framing Nailer
  • 2″ 8 CC Nails
  • Air Compressor
  • Tape Measure
  • Patch Plus Primer
  • Paint Brush
  • 4 Corner Brackets
  • Black Paint

All the directions and some great DIY photos of the process can be found on


Firewood Rack with Roof

This is an awesome video that walks you through the process of building a super cool firewood rack completed with a roof and enclosed sides. They make it look easy and the end project is amazing!  If you want to create a firewood rack complete with a roof, check it out:


Happy building! And don’t forget that the experts at your local GNH Lumber are available to answer your questions, make suggestions, and help your complete your DIY project. Stop by today!

Do you have a building project? With our high quality in-stock lumber, plywood, name brand supplies and product delivery, you can’t lose. Browse products or visit us today!

Painting Versus Staining

DIY: Staining Versus Painting Your Deck

Painting Versus StainingIt’s the age-old question for deck care: staining versus painting? So, which is better for your deck, staining or painting? Simply put: it’s a matter of personal preference.

Whether you stain, paint, or simply just seal your deck, it is extremely important that you protect your deck with regular maintenance!

Is it Time to Paint or Stain? Try the Sprinkle Test

Get your staining project started!

One of the easiest ways you can check to see if your deck needs a refresh is the sprinkle test! Simply sprinkle some water on the surface of your wood deck. If it beads up, then wait a few days and try again to see if you get the same results. However, if the water sits and then absorbs into the wood, you’ll know it’s time to stain, paint, or seal it again.


Deck Stain Basics

Stains can make wood look amazing. They do a great job of highlighting the beauty of the natural wood grain. Many people prefer stain simply because it has a more natural look.

If you are using stain, you’ll have to do maintenance on your decking from periodically. The frequency of maintenance will depend on things where you live, how much you use your deck, what type of weather you have, the color of the stain, quality of the stain, and the prep work that went into staining the deck. Therefore, it pays to do it right the first time.

Since there are both solid and semi-transparent stains, wear and tear will affect them differently. On average, a deck should be re-stained every few years in most cases to protect and preserve the wood.


What are Water and Oil Stains?

There are different kinds of stains to consider. You may see water-based stains, which can adhere to water or oil-based coatings already present on the deck surface, depending on the area. These stains are easily cleaned up with water, as well.

However, oil-based stains will ONLY adhere to wood previously stained with an oil-based product. So, in this case you cannot layer paint or water-based stain over it without sanding off the old stain first. Oil-based stain can be cleaned up with paint thinner.


Deck Paint Basics

Paint is another common protective coating. If you choose to use paint, you won’t see the discoloration of the wood or any imperfections until the paint itself is removed. Although the required maintenance for a painted deck may be less, just like stain, it will depend on the location, the weather, and how much use your deck gets.

Also, when you select paint, you need to look for exterior deck/patio paint, which is formulated for outdoor weather and foot traffic. Don’t use the leftover paint you used to paint your bathroom!

Just know that in some areas of the country, or if the surface is not properly prepared and sealed, paint can flake. If that happens, you may find painting takes a lot of work to maintain. If you are wondering if this will be a problem, look at other exterior places that are painted and note their condition.


Understanding Sealers

Many don’t know you can get a clear sealant for your deck if you love the unique look of the wood. No matter what you choose to do, it’s always a good idea, to make sure you reseal your deck once a year.

Get your staining project started!

Lawn Before Lawn Repair

DIY: Lawn Repair 101 – How to Fix Bare Spots

Lawn Before Lawn RepairAhhh! A lush lawn of perfect green! It’s what we all dream about when it’s summertime. The soft, rolling green backdrop to our cookouts, ballgames, BBQs and entertaining. That said, if you have a lawn with bald or bare spots, it can be frustrating to diagnose and fix.

Do I Need Lawn Repair?

It’s not uncommon to encounter bare spots at some point or another throughout the summer season. Take heart! There are easy ways to diagnose and repair these unsightly patches of yellow, brown and beige, and restore your lawn to its true GREEN GLORY.

A few common causes for those bare spots and patches in your lawn:

  1. Not enough water
  2. Over-fertilizing or spilled chemicals
  3. Lawnmower damage
  4. Grubs or other insects
  5. Pet damage or foot traffic

Depending on the type of damage, there are different solutions to your lawn’s bare spots. However, most involve adding new grass seed, lawn food and water (see steps below). Considering the unusually rainy spring and summer we’ve had so far in upstate New York, it’s doubtful that your lawn has bare spots due to dryness. But if there is a dry spot, it’s an easy fix – just be sure to water frequently, in addition to reseeding to improve thickness.

If the bare spots are due to overfertilizing or lawnmower damage, you will see them appearing uniformly across the lawn. For damage caused by overfertilizing, reseed the bare spots and do not add additional fertilizer until the lawn heals itself. For lawnmower damage, be sure your lawnmower blades are sharpened regularly, and keep the blades raised high enough from the ground when you mow.

Grubs or other insects can wreak havoc on your lawn, as well. Grubs, curling white worms, are a common problem in mid to late summer, and most easily identified when your sod easily pulls back from the ground like a carpet. More than ten grubs per square foot can cause lawn damage. Grub control products are available at your local GNH.

Pet or backyard animal urine can create bare spots of yellowed-grass with a brighter ring of green around them. These can be repaired following the steps below, but to prevent future damage you will want to train your pets to do their business elsewhere. Likewise, foot traffic must be redirected to allow these spots in your lawn to heal.

How to repair bare spots in your lawn the quick and easy way:

Supplies & Tools:

  • Grass Seed (we recommend Scotts® Turf Builder® seed varieties)
  • Topsoil or compost
  • Fertilizer (we recommend Scotts® Step-3 Lawn Fertilizer – on SALE NOW!)
  • Small gardening trowel and rake

1. Break Up the Bare Spot and Reseed.

Use a small gardening shovel or rake to break up the dry spot on your lawn. Remove any rocks, leaves or debris. Choose the appropriate grass seed for the spot’s shade density (such as Scott’s Turf Builder seed varieties, available at GNH) and cast the seeds over the turf. Spread about a half an inch of compost or topsoil on the strewn seeds.

Tip: To get good seed-to-soil contact, gently rake the seeds and soil into the grass.


2. Water Generously at First, Less Later

Water the area immediately, and then continue to water lightly three times a day for 7-10 days. When you can see the new grass sprouting, reduce watering to once daily.

Tip: After the new grass emerges, less is more. A good, thorough soaking rather than a quick watering ensures that the water gets down to the root system. This helps roots grow strong and deep for a thick, more drought-resistant lawn.


3. Feed Your Entire Lawn to Nourish It

To encourage the new growth, and keep your whole lawn looking its best, add a gentle lawn fertilizer to the spot, like Scotts Step-3 Lawn Fertilizer, available at GNH!  Tender seedlings, as well as existing grass, need nutrients to help grow thick and strong.


4. Kick Back & Enjoy the Results!

Repairing bare spots in your lawn is a quick and easy project that reaps many rewards. It’s the perfect weekend task that you can finish in no time, so you can get back out in the hammock and enjoy the results! Don’t forget to improve the lushness and color of your whole lawn (and reduce the chance of future damage) with regular feeding and proper maintenance.

Lawn After Lawn Repair

For more on bare spot lawn repair, check out this helpful video from Scott’s Lawn:

At GNH Lumber, we have everything you need to create your beautiful backyard oasis. For guidance, tips and ideas, stop in to our Greenville or Windham locations, or visit us today online!,,,  

Exterior Siding Maintenance

Exterior Siding Maintenance 101

Exterior Siding MaintenanceAn important step in prolonging the life of your exterior siding is regular cleaning and maintenance. Depending on your home’s type of siding, maintenance steps may include washing, conditioning, staining or painting. You wouldn’t want to skip a needed step, or spend time on maintenance that isn’t required.

So, let’s review some basic exterior siding maintenance must-knows.

How Does Exterior Siding Maintenance Differ?

No matter the materials, it’s important to clean your home’s siding every six months or more to keep it in optimal condition for many years to come. You should also inspect your home’s exterior for any damages at least every six months, or after violent storms and high winds.


Vinyl Siding Maintenance

Although vinyl siding is designed to be low-maintenance, it still needs some TLC throughout the year.

  • Give it a good pressure-washing twice a year to reduce damage and renew bright colors.
  • And check your vinyl siding throughout the year for loose or cracked boards!

Remember, making repairs early will save you money on more costly repairs further on down the road.


Wood Siding Maintenance

Wood Siding MaintenanceGenerally, wood siding needs a little bit more care. It requires regularly cleaning, just like vinyl siding. But because wood is porous and vulnerable to the elements, it also requires paint, stain or sealant to prevent it from moisture, rot and decay.

Wood siding needs to be stained or repainted every four to six years. You will also have to inspect for crack and loose boards, as well as insect damage, such as carpenter bees, and make those repairs quickly to save on more costly repairs later.


Restoring Wood Siding

If the color of your wood siding has been lost due to fading and old age, or if it’s spotted with mildew or rest, don’t worry! You can recover your wood’s natural beauty by using a stain remover, wood cleaner or brightener. We recommend Benjamin Moore’s REMOVE, RESTORE, BRIGHTEN and CLEAN products to help you restore your wood siding to its former glory. Visit your local GNH for Benjamin Moore exterior stain prep products.


Protecting Wood Siding

The first step in maintaining wood siding is protecting it from moisture. Making sure your gutters are working properly that no cracks in the siding are present. You can also replace old or cracked caulk to keep seals tight around windows, doors and corner moldings. Keeping plants and shrubbery from touching the wood siding is also an easy way to protect the wood from excess moisture.


Whether your home exterior siding is vinyl or wood, following these simple steps can protect your home, and keep it looking beautiful, for many years to come.

Deck stain

How to Properly Clean and Sand Your Deck

Deck stainIf your deck has seen better days, it might be time for a facelift. Many people feel that refurbishing their deck is a daunting task. However, once you have the right tips to guide you through the process, you’ll find it so easy, you’ll be relaxing on the new deck with a drink in hand sooner rather than later!

First, you’ll need to know what sort of deck you have. This process will work on any wood deck, including redwood, cedar, pine, spruce and pressure treated lumber but it will not work on composite decks. Many people think to get great results, you’ll need expensive tools. That’s not true! In most cases, you can rent most of the tools you’ll need to get the job done.

Get your staining project started!


  • Protective gear (gloves, mask and goggles)
  • Pressure washer
  • Stain or paint remover
  • Anti-mildew treatment
  • Belt sander
  • Palm sander
  • Sanding sponge
  • Sandpaper (various grit)
  • Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Stain
  • Staining brush

1.  Start with a pressure washer.

If you’re working on a softer wood, like pine, spruce or cedar, you’ll want to be careful with the pressure washer settings. The best setting to use is the wide fan. Next, choose how close you’ll hold the wand to the wood surface. This is because a pressure washer can damage a softer wood if you hold it too close. It’s best to test it out first on a small spot that’s hidden off to the side on your deck if you are not 100% sure. If you see that the wood fibers start to lift up, then hold the wand farther away.

In some cases, the surface of the wood may have a lot of old product on it. If you find this to be the case, you might need to use a stain or paint remover like Benjamin Moore REMOVE Finish Remover. Just follow the instructions provided on the product and always use protective gear if you go this route. This should include eye protection and a mask.

Once you get the built-up product off the wood you’ll want to use an anti-mildew treatment on it. Always choose one that’s biodegradable because you’ll generally see better results.

After it’s been washed, let the wood dry for at least a couple of days. If it happens to rain or is particularly humid, you may need to wait for a few more days.

2. Now you can start sanding.

It’s important that you make sure there is no chance of rain when you begin to sand. If the wood gets wet after it’s been sanded, but not before you’ve had the chance to stain or paint it, you’ll be back to square one — you’ll need to wash and sand it all over again.

Sometimes homeowners rent big floor sanders thinking it will save time because it’s a large surface and that’s a mistake. These machines are too heavy and often they won’t be able to reach the entire surface. Plus, many don’t know that floor sanders can only sand surfaces that are perfectly flat, and depending on the age of the deck, deck boards might be slightly curved. That means it will take off too much in some sections and not enough in others producing poor results and possibly weaken your deck.

The only way to do ensure the best results if to do it by hand with a belt sander, palm sander, and sanding sponge. You’ll need the proper safety gear, such as safety eyewear and respirators. It’s not worth doing if you can’t do it safely yourself so get the right protective gear.

Any pro will tell you to start with a belt sander using a heavy grit belt (like 50) working backwards on the boards as you go along. Then they’ll go back and use a palm sander for all the areas that the belt sander couldn’t reach. The last step would then be to take a sanding sponge wrapped in sandpaper and do the areas the palm sander couldn’t reach.

Then you’ll repeat the process using a slightly lighter grit (60/80). Doing this will leave a nice, smooth surface that will take the stain consistently producing better results.

3. Now it’s staining time.

The general rule when it comes to stain is the thicker the stain, the better the protection. So, make sure you only use deck stain.

Translucent and semi-transparent stains are very thin so you’ll need to reapply every year. It might not sound like a big deal, but for larger surfaces such as a wooden deck, you’ll want to go for something thicker that lasts longer or you’ll be doing this process each year.

When applying always use a proper stain brush so that the stain is applied in a consistent manner to the wood.

How often do you need to do this? Most experts advise every two-three years, but harsh winters or summers may require every 12-18 months.

The cost of rejuvenating an average-size deck is about $250, including tools, materials and the pressure washer rental. You’ll save several hundred dollars by doing the work yourself. Having your deck professionally cleaned and stained will cost $500 to $1,000.

Get your staining project started!

Patio Ideas

Create an Outdoor Patio Space Your Family Will Flock to this Summer!

Patio Ideas

Are you thinking about updating or installing a beautiful patio space? Don’t forget to think about paver patterns! Creating an outdoor space with eye-catching paver designs is a great way to entice visitors, guests and family to spend more time out on your patio. It’s also an easy project that you can do yourself. And, once you master the basics of paver patterns 101, you can always make interesting and one-of-a-kind solutions of your own.

How do you get started? First, choose a paver that will stand the test of time. GNH Lumber suggests AZEK Pavers, which are made from a high performance composite material with a natural appearance and added strength to resist stains and scratches. Backed with the promise of high-quality that comes with the AZEK name, AZEK Pavers come with a 10-year limited warranty and no crack guarantee in residential applications. They:

  • Are composed of up to 95% recycled material
  • Use a patented grid system that reduces installation time by one–third
  • Come in 5 colors, 3 applications, and any number of patterns

Next, choose colors that will best match your landscaping and compliment your home’s exterior. And, finally, decide on a pattern!

Choosing a Pattern

AZEK Pavers can be installed in a multitude of different patterns and combinations (contact your local GNH Lumber expert for guidance or tips). Designs can include small and large repeating patterns, or even random patterns. The possibilities are endless.

Always keep in mind: at least one paver must connect two grids in each direction. The herringbone pattern does this without needing to specially orientate the grids.

Here are 3 Popular Paver Patterns:

Pattern 1: Herringbone


herringbone patternPattern shown in 4″x8″ Redwood and 4″x8″ Boardwalk AZEK Pavers
The herringbone pattern is the most popular, and easiest to install. Pavers will interlock grids in both directions.
• Lay the installation grids as illustrated.
• Start laying pavers at the starting corner.
• IMPORTANT: At least one paver must connect two grids in each direction.


Pattern 2: Basketweave


basketweave patternPattern shown in 4″x8″ Redwood and 4″x8″ Waterwheel AZEK Pavers
This is the simplest installation method for a Basketweave pattern, but it will require extra installation grids.
• The starting paver must be laid 4″ down and 4″ over from the top left corner of the grid. This will shift the pattern over and assure at least one paver will connect two grids in both directions.
• The leftover grid can either be trimmed off, or a 4″ border can be used to fill in the extra space.
• IMPORTANT: At least one paver must connect two grids in each direction.

Pattern 3: Running Bond

running bond

running bond patternPattern shown in 4″x8″ Waterwheel, 4″x8″ Boardwalk and 4″x8″ Olive AZEK Pavers
This pattern will require the staggering of grids to assure the pavers will connect them in both directions.
• The starting paver can be laid in the top left corner, but the next column of grids must be staggered halfway down the starting row. Every other column will need one half grid at the top.
• Each half of the cut grid can be used.
• IMPORTANT: At least one paver must connect two grids in each direction.


For more patterns, advice and tips, stop in to GNH Lumber! No matter what step of the patio-building process you’re on, we can help you find the right product and offer guidance. We hope you enjoy the finished result!

Exterior Painting Project

Planning an Exterior Painting Project in 5 Easy Steps

Exterior Painting Project

If your home exterior is looking drab, one easy way to make a big impact is with a fresh coat of paint. Springtime and early autumn are good times of year to tackle your home exterior painting project. The temperatures are warm enough for easy drying, but without the excessive humidity associated with summer months. This means quicker drying times!

If you’re not sure how to begin a large-scale exterior painting project, don’t worry. There are a few planning steps that will go a long way in finishing your painting project on time and without unexpected headaches. It’s simply a matter of thinking ahead, buying enough paint in the same color, and then tackling the job one section at a time.

Here are some planning tips to help get you started on your home exterior painting project:

Step 1: Envision the Final Product

Before you visit GNH Lumber to choose paints, you will need to select a color palette for your home’s exterior walls, trim, shutters and doors. There are some tried and true color combinations that produce a handsome result, so you can take the guesswork out of color choice.

You can use Benjamin Moore’s “Color Viewer Tool” to help visualize the end result, and even list compatible paint colors by name and product number for easy reference.

Tip: If you’re painting your home’s exterior for resale, it’s best not to opt for unusual or intense colors, like flamingo pink or bright orange. Basic whites, light blues, light beiges and yellows work best for curb appeal.


Step 2: Prepare the Exterior Surfaces

A clean and debris-free exterior is best for holding paint, so before you apply a single coat, spend a day preparing your home’s exterior. The first step is sanding or scraping old and peeling paint with this helpful 5-in-1 Painting Tool, available at GNH. (You can also use this tool to patch up holes in walls, siding and shutters with Spackle, putty or wood filler).

Next, check for gaps between siding and windows, and caulk where needed, or replace lengths of siding or shingles. Finally, use a power-spray to thoroughly wash your home’s exterior and allow a couple of days to dry completely before applying a primer coat.

Tip: Paint has trouble sticking to anything but smooth, clean surfaces! Rotten wood or siding won’t hold paint well, so it’s best to replace with new before painting.


Step 3: Planning & Prep

Watch your weather forecast carefully, and choose a stretch of warm, dry days to execute the painting project! Weather is critical, because paint needs proper humidity and temperature to dry properly. Plan on having a couple of days (a weekend) to work.

After freeing up the time in your calendar, you can now prepare to paint! Make sure you purchase more than enough paint to cover your home’s exterior, siding, shutters, doors – and get a little bit more than you think you will need for touch-ups.

Tip: Place plastic tarps or drop cloths over walkways, shrubs and grasses to help protect against spilled paint. Move or cover up any outdoor furniture, hoses, grills, etc.


Step 4: Use Primer

The rule of thumb has always been to apply a good coat of primer, sand, then apply your color coats. This is still a good rule to follow. That said, new paint technologies have combined primer and paint into one product, which manufacturers assert will cut down on the number of coats you will have to apply. This newer paint is more expensive, but may be comparable to the purchase of separate primer and paint.


Step 5: Boxing the Paint

Take all the cans of the same-colored paint and mix them in one larger container, such as a 5-gallon bucket. This preserves color consistency across the whole home exterior. Pros call this method “boxing the paint.” According to DIY Network, “This step is important if, for example, you initially bought a gallon or two of paint less than you needed and then picked up the extra gallons at a later time.”

Tip: Start at the top and paint down to control streaks and drips. Drips are inevitable, but this method will allow you to feather out mishaps in the direction you are working.


Happy painting! With a little planning, your home exterior painting project can be fun and satisfying, and the result will be beautiful. Adding a fresh coat of paint both protects the exterior surfaces of your home and improves its value. Questions? Ask us!



Paint at GNHAt GNH Lumber, we have everything you need to paint your home, inside or out. For more guidance, tips and ideas, stop in to our Greenville or Windham locations, or visit us today online!